TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) — The Festival of Yule, an ancient holiday festival to be held in Tuscumbia on December 3, has stirred controversy among local religious residents.
The Festival of Yule is a holiday derived from ancient Germanic, Norse, and Pagan cultures. It celebrates the upcoming winter solstice.
Festival organizer Kendall Gilchrist told News 19 that some of her ancestors were based in northern European countries, and this festival is a way to celebrate her heritage.
“There are so many different takes on Yule. So many different cultures and religions that celebrate it in different ways,” Gilchrist said. “We’re here to take our take on it and bring in the small business aspect of it.”
At a Tuscumbia city council meeting on November 21, around 100 local residents shared their concerns about the festival. Some of the residents argued that the festival promotes paganism and Satanism.
A video of the meeting has over 20,000 views on social media.
Gilchrist said that the festival does not have any sort of anti-religious sentiment.
“It’s about coming together and community, family, feasting. It’s not about worshipping the devil or Satanism or things like that. It’s, you know, for everyone,” she said.
Gilchrist told News 19 that the event will be similar to other local events, such as the Alabama Renaissance Faire held in Florence. She said her main goal is to give local businesses and artists a chance to share the things they’ve created while also tying it to her heritage.
“That’s what we do here. We’re very community-based,” Gilchrist said. “We want to promote everybody and create a space for people to create.”